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News Wrap: Trump takes steps on border wall, immigration crackdown

In our news wrap Wednesday, President Trump signed two executive orders at the Department of Homeland Security, ordering construction of a Mexican border wall, and taking other actions aimed at illegal immigration. Also, the White House distanced itself from reports that it may order a major review of how how terror suspects are handled, including renewed use of banned interrogation methods.

Read the Full Transcript

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Day three of this first White House workweek, and the focus today turned to the southern border.

    President Trump moved to make good on long-promised action to stop illegal crossings.

  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

    We have been talking about this right from the beginning.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The Department of Homeland Security was the backdrop for getting tough on immigration. The president signed two executive orders, one to start work on completing a wall along the Mexican border.

  • DONALD TRUMP:

    You folks know how badly needed it is as a help, but very badly need. This will also help Mexico by deterring illegal immigration from Central America and by disrupting violent cartel networks.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The wall was a signature promise from the campaign, and so was his insistence about who will foot the bill.

  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

    Who's going to pay for the wall?

  • AUDIENCE:

    Mexico!

  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

    Not even a doubt. OK?

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Today, before signing off on the wall, Mr. Trump told ABC News that while construction could begin within months, Mexico will not be paying up front.

  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

    And we will be, in a form, reimbursed by Mexico, which I have always said.

  • QUESTION:

    So they will pay us back?

  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

    Yes, absolutely, 100 percent.

  • QUESTION:

    So the American taxpayer will pay for the wall at first?

  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

    All it is, is, we will be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    But, at the announcement, the president said construction would start immediately. Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto has insisted his government will not pay for a wall, but he is due to visit Washington next week, and Mr. Trump said today he is optimistic about that meeting.

  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

    By working together on a positive trend, safe borders, and economic cooperation, I truly believe we can enhance the relation between our two nations, to a degree not seen before, certainly, in a very, very long time.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The president also acted today to boost the number of Border Patrol and immigration agents, and strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities that shield undocumented immigrants from arrest or detention.

    In addition, he moved to end the practice of taking undocumented immigrants into custody, but then releasing them with orders to report in later. Beyond immigration, the president was busy today on other matters. With a series of tweets, he said he will announce his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy on February 2, he promised to order an investigation into alleged voter fraud, and he threatened to send in federal authorities to curb Chicago's record surge of gun violence.

    In response, Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel said today he would welcome federal help.

  • MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL, Chicago:

    Chicago, like other cities right now that are dealing with gun violence, wants the partnership with federal law enforcement, at least in a more significant way than we're having it today, whether that's the FBI, the DEA, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the ATF.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Tomorrow, the president heads to Philadelphia to address the congressional Republican retreat. The White House indicates he will also announce steps in coming days to restrict refugees entering the U.S.

    A senior Mexican official now says that President Pena Nieto is considering canceling his trip to Washington because of the order to start work on the border wall. We will focus in detail on Mr. Trump's immigration orders and on his call for investigating voter fraud after the news summary.

    In the day's other news: The White House distanced itself from news reports that it may order a major review of handling terror suspects. The reports said that a draft executive order could allow for renewed use of banned interrogation methods, and for reopening so-called black site prisons outside the U.S.

    Presidential spokesman Sean Spicer said it wasn't a White House document, but he declined to say more.

    A big day on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones industrial average, for the first time, broke the 20000 barrier. The Dow gained 155 points, to close at 20068. The Nasdaq rose nearly 55 points, and the S&P 500 added 18. Stocks surged from the start, as strong earnings and President Trump's promise of deregulation and tax cuts sparked the rally.

  • MARIA FIORINI RAMIREZ, MFR Securities:

    Companies may have less cost related to whether it's compliance or regulation, and that frees quite a bit of the earnings at the bottom line, and they can use some of that to reinvest, and invest in capital, and spread it to dividends going to shareholders.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The broader market is also passing milestones. Both the S&P and the Nasdaq have had a series of record closes lately.

    In Somalia, Islamist fighters attacked a hotel that's popular with the country's lawmakers. The government said at least 11 people were killed. The city's ambulance director said 28 died. It happened in the capital, Mogadishu. The extremist Al-Shabaab group claimed responsibility. Four attackers rammed a car bomb into the hotel's gates, and then stormed the compound. Police eventually ended the siege, killing all of the militants.

    Hope dimmed today in Italy in the search for survivors of an avalanche last week. Officials confirmed 25 dead, as rescue workers pulled out more bodies. But crews continued digging through the snow, looking for the four people who are still missing.

    Meanwhile, Italy's prime minister admitted to parliament that there were delays in the response.

  • PAOLO GENTILONI, Prime Minister, Italy (through interpreter):

    If there are responsibilities for the tragedy, the investigations will clear this up. The government certainly doesn't fear the truth, but the truth helps us do better, not to poison the debate. It is in our hands to make sure that once the disaster has past, further injustice is not created.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    As the prime minister spoke, residents of quake-struck areas marched towards Italy's parliament, protesting the handling of the crisis.

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